An estimated 5,000 gallons of sewage spilled into Port Ludlow harbor has led county health officials to warn boaters and other users to avoid contact with the water.
From the press release:
Olympic Water and Sewer reported an estimated 5,000 gallon sewage spill from their facility in Port Ludlow Bay on Tuesday, July 20th. The system was repaired on the same day. As a result of the spill, Jefferson County Public Health has issued a “No contact” Health Advisory for all of Port Ludlow Bay until Friday morning, July 23rd.
The public is advised to avoid any contact with the water in Port Ludlow Bay. Shellfish harvesting in the area is already closed due to the proximity to the marina, and also due to high PSP levels.
For more information on this advisory, contact Jefferson County Public Health’s Water Quality Program at (360) 385-9444 or visit our webpage at www.jeffersoncountypublichealth.org.”
Increased pathogen and fecal bacteria levels in marine waters can come from both shore and inland sources. Inland sources can consist of stormwater runoff, sewer overflows, failing septic systems and even animal waste from livestock, pets, and wildlife. Shore sources can consist of swimmers, boats, marine mammals, birds, and other wildlife. We often observe high bacteria results following rain events. In general, the BEACH Program recommends avoiding contact with marine waters 48 hours following rainfall.
Contact with fecal contaminated waters can result in gastroenteritis, skin rashes, upper respiratory infections and other illnesses. Children and the elderly may be more vulnerable to waterborne illnesses.